Wednesday, Mar. 30th 2016

Humans of Conception: Dr. Liz McGrath

The “Humans of Conception” series will feature a variety of seminarians, faculty and staff, monks, and others who help make Conception Seminary College a place where our motto is lived out: “Caritas christi urget nos – The love of Christ compels us.”  Check back for future posts featuring other “Humans of Conception.”


Dr. Elizabeth McGrath sits at her desk in St. Maur Hall.

From the distinguished Loyola University in Chicago, to Conception Seminary College in the middle of nowhere Missouri, a prestigious woman of charming character is relating real situations in the world today to whichever philosophy class she teaches to twenty-year-old men at her attention.

Dr. Elizabeth McGrath has future Church leaders in her hands…

and she hopes to educate them to become capable of not only growing in knowledge of reason, but becoming men who know the depth of their faith. A teacher at heart, she was a professor of criminal justice at Spring Hill in Mobile, Alabama and then at Loyola in Chicago before she became the Academic Dean at Conception Seminary. Now retired from the Academic Dean position, Dr. Elizabeth McGrath has stepped into full-time teaching.

If you happen to walk by a class she is teaching, you are likely to hear a lot of laughter and see many smiles on the faces of students.

Dr. McGrath has gained wisdom through experience and many encounters over her lifetime. Born in St. Augustine, Florida, a young Elizabeth McGrath was always encouraged by her mother to become a philosopher. It wasn’t until she took a logic class at Jacksonville College in Florida that she fell in love with philosophy. But it is the passion she expresses that captures the attention of people who have had the privilege of meeting her. Her excitement for life itself gives anyone who is down in the dumps an instant smile when they look at this optimistic and realistic woman.

And hundreds of thousands have had the chance to come across her path.

In the field of education, she has seen numberless students walk through her classroom. She may not always remember the names, but she always remembers the richness of variety in those whom she educates. She says that every student has a spark of God in them, and with each one she sees a new part of God and his goodness.

It is at Conception Seminary where Dr. McGrath has seen the most courage.

Courage is the word she uses for what she sees in the young men she teaches at Conception. Amid scandal, discouragement, and sacrifice, many young men still strive to make the world better. She says it is almost selfish (which further alludes to her humbleness and honesty), but she gains optimism and hope for the future of the church and its leaders.

A professor by profession, a teacher out of love of pushing people to flourish.

She may not ever gain the fame, awards, or recognition she deserves for teaching a small group of men in northwest Missouri, but she will always be remembered by the people she encounters.  Like an everlasting reminder of the goodness of God’s creation, and just like Christ, her door is always open.

And she might have some candy for you too.



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